Our Environment, Your Say!

Our Environment, Your Say!

NOTE: This webinar was sponsored by the Ministry for the Environment. Originally aired on 17 September 2019, this webinar is offered on-demand and free of charge on our EquiPTV platform.

Please email the EquiP team to gain access to the webinar workspace, where you'll find video-on-demand, audio-on-demand, video segments, PowerPoints, PDFs, and other media and links.

To gain access to this webinar, please email equip.pd@lgnz.co.nz.

Over the coming months, the Government will be consulting on a number of proposed environmental policies. They are providing a coordinated approach to consultation on these policies and some information about how the policy proposals relate to each other. This will allow them to test how they work as a whole to best support decisions and to assess their combined impact.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the webinar, participants will:

  • have an overview of the key consultations the Government is currently consulting on; and
  • understand the role of councils and how central and local government can work together to get results.


This presentation will provide an overview of the following consultations.

Planning for successful cities

Everyone in New Zealand deserves healthy, secure and affordable homes that provide access to jobs, education, amenities, and services. When performing well our cities can contribute to our well being, and raise living standards for all. How we plan and design our cities can help us protect and manage our land, freshwater, and marine environments and transition to a low emissions future.

The proposed National Policy Statement on Urban Development supports local decision making, while providing councils with national direction under the Resource Management Act (RMA) about when and how cities should plan for growth, and how to do this well.

Valuing highly productive land

Our land is a taonga – an irreplaceable treasure and a source of life and wellness for our country. Our economy depends on our land. Our history and culture are tied to it. However, our productive land is under threat from a growing population, and expansion of our towns, cities, and infrastructure. The National Policy Statement on Highly Productive Land proposes how councils can help look after our best land for growing a range of fruits, vegetables or fibre.

Action for healthy waterways

We are consulting on An Essential Freshwater package that we believe is sufficient to halt the decline of freshwater, but also is be practical and enduring. This means it must be science-based, predictable, understood by the public, and underpinned by effective regulation and enforcement.

There will be a new National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPS-FM) and a new environmental standard.

These will provide greater direction for regional councils on matters they must consider and requirements to be met when they are developing regional plans for freshwater.

The National Environmental Standard for Freshwater Management (NES-FM) is intended to provide clear and specific direction on resource use, in particular where rapid action is required.

Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions about the consultations at the end of the presentation.

Recommended Audience 

This free webinar is designed for mayors, councillors, community board members and management seeking to get an understanding of the multiple changes the Government is proposing to rules and regulations to protect our environment and transition to a sustainable, low-emissions future.


Cheryl Barnes – Deputy Secretary, Water and Climate Change

Cheryl Barnes is Deputy Secretary for Water and Climate Change. Her role is to ensure the ministry provides leadership and stewardship that will make a difference for future generations of New Zealanders. 

Cheryl's responsibilities include strategic leadership and policy advice across freshwater quality and management, and climate change mitigation and adaptation. She also leads work on monitoring the state of New Zealand’s water resources and reporting to the world on New Zealand’s emissions.   

These issues are central to New Zealand’s transition to sustainable land use and a sustainable low emissions economy.  The work she leads sits within the wider context of supporting the ministry to pursue its vision of making New Zealand the most liveable place in the world.

Cheryl joined the MfE as Deputy Secretary, Organisational Performance/Chief Operating Officer, and managed teams dealing with a variety of issues such as human resourcing, people and culture, as well as water management, funding for freshwater clean-ups, remediation of contaminated sites and environmental education.  

Prior to that, she was the Director of Budget and Public Services at the Treasury where she held a range of leadership roles, including on budget and fiscal policy and state sector reform. Cheryl holds a Masters of Public Policy from Victoria University and a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from Leeds University in the UK. She is a mother to two young daughters.

Useful links

Planning for successful cities — our proposal, your views

We want our cities to be the most liveable in the world. How we plan our cities can help us transition to a low emissions future and a more sustainable, productive and inclusive economy.

The Government has an ambitious and wide-ranging housing and urban development work programme to help get us there.

The proposed National Policy Statement on Urban Development is one part of this. It provides direction to local authorities about when and how cities should plan for growth and how to do this well. It aims to remove unnecessary restrictions on development, to allow for growth ‘up’ and ‘out’ in locations that have good access to existing services and infrastructure.

For further information visit https://www.mfe.govt.nz/consultations/nps-urbandevelopment

Protecting our valuable land – our proposal, your views

The Government is proposing a National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land to improve the way highly productive land is managed under the Resource Management Act 1991.

The purpose is to:

  • recognise the full range of values and benefits associated with its use for primary production
  • maintain its availability for primary production for future generations
  • protect it from inappropriate subdivision, use and development.

For further information visit https://www.mfe.govt.nz/consultation/proposed-nps-highly-productive-land

Improving our resource management system

The Government is overhauling our resource management system, focusing on the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) – the primary legislation governing the use of our land, water and air resources. 

The Government wants the RMA to support a more productive, sustainable and inclusive economy. It also wants the RMA to be easier for New Zealanders to understand and engage with. The Government is approaching this in two stages. To find out more visit our website


Reducing harm from waste – product stewardship

New Zealand has one of the highest rates of household waste production per capita in the OECD. Yet New Zealanders are highly concerned about waste. We rank waste as one of the three topics we are most concerned about (Ministry for the Environment surveys 2018).

Regulatory product stewardship would make producers responsible for specified problematic products at the end of life. It would ensure the costs of proper waste management are paid by producers and consumers, not communities and the environment. 

The Government is proposing having regulated product stewardship for six priority products: tyres, electrical and electronic products, agrichemicals and their containers, refrigerants and other synthetic greenhouse gases, farm plastics, and packaging (examples are shown above).

This consultation will determine which products are included in co-design of regulated product stewardship with business and other stakeholders. It will also set guidelines for the co-design process.

For further information visit https://www.mfe.govt.nz/consultations/priorityproducts